The Man Who Wouldn’t Stop Painting Butts
Willem Dafoe as Delancey Fraser
Helen Mirren as Isabelle Giacomo
Topher Grace as Anthony
Zendaya as Artemis
Stanley Tucci as Bruno Ertz
Jennifer Lopez as Herself
Colin Quinn as Himself
Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura
Estimated Budget: $12,000,000
Estimated Box Office: $19,500,00
In the 1990s, Delancey Fraser (Willem Dafoe) took the art world by storm. His provocative, timely work held a mirror up to society and asked a simple question: “Who are we?” An enigmatic, possibly genius painter who grew up sleeping on the streets of New York City, Fraser was discovered by the famous art agent, Isabelle Giacomo (Helen Mirren), when he was caught graffiti-ing his work onto the side of Isabelle’s apartment building. From there, his debut exhibition, “Life In Passing (Gas)”, held in the lower east side of Manhattan, was called a “gritty masterpiece” that “re-imagined life not as we live it, but how we wish it to be.” A series of triumphant art showcases followed through the rest of the 90s. Fraser, accompanied by his lowly assistant, Anthony (Topher Grace), was a singular presence at these events – often standing in the corner of the room for hours avoiding any interaction with the hype-driven art world that so badly wanted to make him their next cause celebre.
Also, all of Delancey Fraser’s paintings were of butts. Round, plump, juicy human butts.
Asked why he painted only butts, Fraser would simply reply, “Why not butts? Seem as good a thing as any to paint.”
1999 was the peak of Fraser’s career, highlighted by what many considered to be his ultimate masterpiece: The art exhibition titled “Famous Butt Alone”. This collection of works displayed Fraser’s depictions of famous butts, from Jennifer Lopez, to Shakira, to Dennis Franz’s butt scene in NYPD Blue. Often, the subjects of the paintings flew across the world at their own expense to pose for these paintings. (J Lo did, Franz did not).
“Famous Butt Alone” was a global breakthrough, sending shockwaves not only through the art world but the entire entertainment landscape. It was impossible to walk the streets of NYC without seeing someone in a t-shirt featuring one of Fraser’s celeb paintings. The artist was asked, and shockingly accepted, an invitation to appear on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update alongside Colin Quinn (in a sketch that drew few laughs). There were talks of a Broadway play depicting Delancey Fraser’s life story, from living on the streets to toast of the artistic universe. In short, the butt painter had gone commercial.
Twenty-two years later, it was all gone. In the two decades that followed Fraser’s global domination, the world waited to see what the artist would do next. Where he would take his talents. How we would evolve as a seeker of truth.
But Delancey Fraser just kept on painting butts. From 2000-2020, Fraser never stopped painting those thick, luscious butts that he loved so much. But the world eventually stopped caring. The art world moved on in search of its next hero.
Eventually, they found it. In 2019, Fraser’s former assistant, Anthony, debuted his first ever collection, titled “The world at bREaST.” It was a series of paintings featuring women’s’ boobs. Like his mentor three decades before, Anthony exploded into the top of the New York art scene. At first, Anthony extended an olive branch to Fraser, asking to team up on a two artist showcase that would re-introduce Fraser to the world. But Fraser brushed off the idea, saying, “Butts, I get. Boobs. I don’t.” Anthony grew bitter over the rejection.
Also, Delancey Fraser developed a terrible heroin habit. He was absolutely addicted to smack. Which didn’t help anything.
Down on his luck, but insistent on his belief that the only thing he needed to paint were butts, the once king of the art world was back on the streets, using the blood of dead rats as paint to cover the sides of NYC buildings with his art.
At his lowest point, Fraser meets another street artist who could not be less like himself. Her name is Artemis (Zendaya) and unlike Fraser, with his singular focus on butts, she never paints the same thing twice. Also unlike the privileged artists that Fraser once counted himself among, Artemis paints only for the joy of it, using any materials she finds on the street as her paint and any blank surface she comes across as her canvas.
Could meeting Artemis be the spark that Delancey Fraser needs to re-establish himself in the art world? Does Artemis show Fraser a flyer revealing that the Guggenheim is holding its annual modern art competition in two months and that every artist with a brush will be entering (including Anthony with his newest series, “Boob Two-b” (a commentary on nudity on television))? Does Artemis help Delancey kick his heroin habit and begin painting butts in a way he never has before by focusing on what’s REAL (meaning everyday people on the street, not celebrities)?
The answer to all these questions, and more, is a resounding: Yes.
“The Man Who Wouldn’t Stop Painting Butts” is a triumphant character study of art’s place in society and man’s responsibility to himself. The story of Delancey Fraser is the story of us all: The highs, the lows, the butts, the heroin. An examination of the soul of an artist and what it means to be alive in a dark, uncaring universe, “The Man Who Wouldn’t Stop Painting Butts” is a film that will keep your REAR in the seat, long after its run time has ended.
Exclusive Scene from the Script: